James Hicks, M.D., 50 SIGNS OF MENTAL ILLNESS (Yale University Press)

Dr. James Hicks
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Sexual Preoccupations

You looked in a book at the library that said masturbation is normal. But you're not so sure. At least not like this. You've done it at least once a day ever since you discovered you could. When you got married, it didn't take long for your wife to figure out what was going on. She said she'd rather have you jerk off in the morning with a magazine than sleep around with someone else during the day. As long as you could still get it up when you were with her at night, things were fine.

Even when you have intercourse together your mind is elsewhere. You fantasize about doing it at work, on an airplane, and in the woods. Recently you've started getting excited about the idea of letting somebody else watch. You didn't think that would turn you on until you were interrupted once in a public restroom. You're not gay, but you've started slipping into porno theatres where guys can watch you while a video is playing. The only thing keeping you from pulling it out in front of a woman is that you might get arrested.

Sometimes you think it wouldn't be so bad if you got arrested. At least then you'd have to deal with the problem. You've tried unsuccessfully to stop on your own. All day long you're thinking about opportunities. You can't concentrate at work. Sometimes you slip out of meetings. At the end of the day you feel bad about having accomplished so little, and the only way to cheer yourself up is to waste another couple of hours looking for porno on the Internet. You wish you were like everyone else and could be satisfied with having sex with your wife a couple times a week.

This chapter covers the following topics:

  • Sexual Preoccupations
  • Paraphilias Refer to Distressing Sexual Preferences
  • Some Paraphilias Can Lead to Sexual Offenses
  • Homosexual Desire Is Not a Sign of Mental Illness
  • How Do Atypical Sexual Interests and Behaviors Develop?
  • Some Treatments Exist for Sexual Preoccupations


This excerpt may not be reproduced without written permission from the publishers.
Fifty Signs of Mental Illness: A Guide to Understanding Mental Health
Yale University Press / New Haven and London
Copyright © 2005 by James Whitney Hicks

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